Just an Ordinary Day – Part 4

Here’s the next section of my genre stretch story…

**

After enjoying lunch with Sam and Lily, Alexander returned to the saloon to see if anyone might be looking to play a few hands of cards.  He spent the better part of the afternoon playing against three young men who had come in on the stagecoach the previous day.

As he was about to win his fourth hand against them, he saw Dr. Schneider step inside the saloon.  In the cool, dimness, he tugged off the glasses with their shaded lenses.  Alexander blinked in surprise.  Dr. Schneider’s eyes were a dark violet, almost red.

As he finished the hand, the scientist stepped over to the table.  Alexander ignored him, favoring his opponents with a smile instead.  “It seems I have won again,” he said, shrugging.

“I’m tapped out,” one of them announced.  The other two, while they still had some money, saw the wisdom in leaving with what they had left at that point.

As they left the table, Dr. Schneider sat down at the table.  “You’re quite skilled, Mr. Montgomery,” he said, his voice soft.

“Skill enough that I’ve been told not to engage you in a hand,” he said, nodding.

Dr. Schneider chuckled.  “I wouldn’t play you anyway,” he said, shaking his head.  Tapping his temple, he added, “I don’t see well enough to read the cards.”

Nodding, Alexander said, “I’d noticed that your eyes… Are you an albino?”

“I am,” Dr. Schneider said.  He shrugged.  “I can see some things and, when I’m working, I use a large magnifier.  It’s too big to carry around with me, though.  It rests on the tabletop.”

“You don’t wear glasses?” Alexander asked.

Chuckling again, Dr. Schneider shrugged.  “I probably should, but… no,” he said.  “At least, I don’t wear them as often as I’m supposed to.”  He reached into his jacket pocket and drew out a pair of glasses.  As he settled them on his nose, he smiled.  “They make my eyes look enormous and they’re heavy besides.”

“That makes sense,” Alexander said, nodding.  He shuffled his cards and began laying them out for a hand of solitaire.  “Was there something that you wanted, Dr. Schneider?  Could I help you in some way?”

“I need an extra pair of hands,” he said.  He frowned.  “I’d ask Mr. Nolan, since he’s a healer, but… I need someone with little fingers and… I think you’d suit my purposes best.  If you’re willing, that is.”

For a moment, Alexander hesitated.  Then, he nodded slowly.  Folding his cards together, he said, “I’m not sure how much help I’ll be, but… I’ll do what I can.”

“I appreciate that, Mr. Montgomery,” Dr. Schneider said, smiling warmly.  As he stood, he settled his shaded lenses back in front of his eyes.  Then, he headed for the doors, with Alexander following close behind.

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